Arcana: The Seven Rivers

Shown also reversed for symbolism.

The Seven Rivers, Pinnacle of the House of Paths (The Counts). As discussed elsewhere the House of Paths is weighted traditionally in reverse order with the 7th card as the Pinnacle, though some consider the tradition to weight this house both ways. That is with each card the ultimate doom, and apex of the House.

The Seven Rivers (Styx) are an iconic mysticism found through many parts of Thaea. Often depicted as flowing out of the Sun and into the Void or Abyss. Shown here as seven tributaries to feed seven rivers, which become seven deltas. Convergence, and divergence, and the endlessly complex branching paths of knowing.†

While the singular Coin represents chance, and simplicity. The Seven Rivers represents the paralysis of absolute freedom, and the lack of control in manifold possibilities. Which does indeed still sound very much like a traditional doom. If one steps back from the word freedom.

Reversed we find the Moon as a reflection of the sun, in another literal sense, standing opposite, and guarding over the maw of the Abyss. Reversed The Seven Rivers is a card of protection, and defiance of complex perils. The possible paths narrowed by wisdom, and due caution. We move towards balance, and harmony somewhere in the living world between extremes.

As in many cards that depict the sun Rhan, we see the morning star Vhale, here also mirrored in reverse. The companion and the rival, the heir and the failure. The Seven Rivers is often a card about our surroundings, and our place in the scheme of things. It tells us our choices are our own, but our outcomes not always in our control.


I saw there a river. There flowed from burning aether on into darkest oblivion. There offered I might give chase to the eternal sun, and defy all mortal condition. That I might follow the path of Ascension to all natural conclusion.

There in the heavens, at Rhan’s left hand stood Vhale, Light-bearer. Who took but a portion of his father’s might, and did burn for all the ages. In doubt I did turn. In fear look away. I was not so great as he. That what destroyed the mighty sun’s heir, would surely undo all I could ever be.

From atop a great mountain saw down upon seven tributaries that fed the greatest of all streams. The Styx they were, and they were life, and they were death. Seven became one, and one became seven. Seven, by seven, seven times were their number. There in multitudes became the uncountable sea.

A reflection stared back, and I thought her the Abyss, but she was a mirror that stood guard between the lands of living, and the dark one, the hunger. An order so ordained by the sun. An order so commanded. This was the nature of things. I turned back towards the sun.

Saint Darius

To rational scholars The Seven Rivers are a quite literal depiction of Entropy, and even the contest with Order. The dissolution, and convergence of power. The material and gifted forces of nature.

†Some attest the historic significance of the number Seven to the river’s myth, while others claim that the Styx are a more modern idea tacked onto the seven tradition. Again one easily looks to pre-ascension lands, and Ascension Numerals for clues based in the likely origins of the Arcana practice.

Ascension numerals do appear by record to predate the Arcana, but also arguably are not strictly Seven based, given 8 has it’s own representation of S.  Which curiously overlaps with the standard sign for Entropy in a system.  Other strange artifacts arise such as the SI ligature $ for 9. All meaningful evidence breaks down, as both traditions predate reliably recorded history.

Some even argue that the Seven tradition is Osyrean in origin, and perhaps represent the six children of Osir. Two daughters who betrayed him to protect, and join the Maji. Three sons who governed remote colonies along the North Sea, and an elder son and daughter who stayed ever at his side. Often also attested as the Six Stars of The Crown.

All of which becomes very interesting given it was the youngest son who governed the City of the Sun in pre-ascension lands, and did not return to join the contest for the throne upon his father’s death. He is credited with ultimately bringing the tradition of the Arcana back to Osyrae after peace had been restored under his eldest brother.  Also fleeing increasing instability in his province, and marking the final decline of the Osyrean imperial period.


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